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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road Hardcover – February 23, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Roach is best known for her popular and critically acclaimed gardening blog, A Way to Garden. In this personal memoir, she describes her transformation as she sheds her corporate carapace as editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and begins life in a small upstate New York town. She expects to find peace and solitude there, a place to discern a new identity, independent of her professional success. Instead, she finds herself untethered and unexpectedly fearful of snakes, snow storms, and silence. A circuitous spiritual journey follows as Roach consults with an assortment of shamans and matchmakers and the occasional exterminator. She eventually finds some ballast in the deeper rhythms of country life and the reliable kindness of neighbors. Roach™s gardening writing on her blog and in her previous book (A Way to Garden) is clear, thorough, and thoughtful. Readers may appreciate her candid, stream-of-consciousness style in this memoir, but it is too unstructured and inchoate to be as satisfying as her other work. (Feb.)
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Perhaps it’s the twenty-first century’s most existential question: who am I if not my e-mail address? After leaving her coveted position as editorial director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Roach deleted the @ and dot-com from the end of her name and suddenly found herself adrift in both the cyber world of instant access and the concrete world of dwindling bank accounts. More rudderless than any 50-year-old woman with a solid-gold reputation (and AmEx card) should be, Roach retreated to her weekend getaway home in upstate New York and turned it into her primary residence and place of business. She was now Margaret Roach, Inc., but what would she produce? A keen observer of the avian and amphibian life sheltered by her country property, city-girl Roach took comfort in their rituals and habits, adopting what she could for her own unsettled existence. As she moves through the seasons of her first year in self-imposed exile, Roach limns a reflective odyssey for affirmation and acceptance that blends Zen-like wisdom with zany escapades. --Carol Haggas
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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Roadis truly a journey of a book, but very, very internal, very quiet. It meanders here and there, but if you know Ms. Roach's demeanor at all you would fully expect that. Her mind often works much faster than her hands do. It's understandable because to become as high-up as where she was at MSLO you would need to do that. Executives are often done with something internally far earlier than most of us are. I hope, pray, wish to some day grow up to be Margaret. I dream of having the ability to follow my own true path, whatever that may be. I don't begrudge her one iota and I look forward to all that she will create, nurture and divine in the future. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart Ms. Roach for sharing such an intimate part of yourself so that others may take away at least a little bit in an attempt to learn how to truly fly. Thanks Margaret! Keep it up! Your passion is our inspiration.
I also highly recommend her other book. It's well worth it.
A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer for Every Season
And, of course, her blog:
This story isn't gardening 101 or any form of a self-help manual, but rather a story that belongs to the author. Her story and her journey of leaving the high-powered position at Martha Stewart and taking a huge risk and a huge gamble (something everyone would fear and second-guess to no end) is inspirational to say the least. She asks herself time and time again, "Who am I if I am not firstname.lastname@example.org?" At first she is overwhelmed and fearful of the alone-ness of it all, but through the eyes of birds, beasts, and vegetables (and great neighbors), she begins to live the life of her dreams.
The writing can be difficult to follow at first and quite poetic/stream of consciousness. It bothered me at the start, but it ended up becoming one of the things I loved the most about this book.
She begins by asking, "How did I go from she who lives in the world to she who lives in the woods?" For those of us that dream of a more enriched and rural life, we can read into Ms. Roach's journey as moving INTO the world, rather than leaving it behind.